Franklin Zoning Board Approves Variances for Residential Garage Project

In a recent Franklin (Gloucester County) Zoning Board meeting, the most significant item addressed was the application ZB 2401, where the board approved a set of variances for a residential garage project. The project proposed by John Berardo involves combining two properties, demolishing an existing uninhabited structure, and constructing a new garage on the rear portion of the adjacent lot.

The proposed garage, a 24×40 feet structure with an average height of less than 15 feet, is designed to store tools, household items, and no more than three personal vehicles. The applicant sought a C1 hardship variance due to the combined front and rear yard setback requirements totaling the depth of the property, essentially preventing construction without approval. In addition, Berardo sought approval for the variances related to the maximum area allowed for a private garage and pre-existing non-conformities such as lot area, even after the lot consolidation.

During the presentation, the engineer representing Berardo highlighted the positive aspects of the proposal, including the improved aesthetics compared to the deteriorated building being demolished, support from neighbors, and a reduced environmental load by eliminating the need for separate septic or well systems. The negative criteria were addressed with the assertion that there would be no substantial detriment to the zoning plan or adjacent structures.

The board engineer’s concerns about the amount of impervious coverage due to two driveways were discussed. The applicant agreed to reduce the paving in front of the garage and eliminate the second driveway to accommodate these concerns. This change ensures compliance with the board’s recommendations and addresses potential water drainage issues.

Questions from the board touched on the intended use of the garage, the consolidation of lots, and specific details about the structure’s setbacks. The applicant also confirmed the willingness to submit revised plans to reflect the changes discussed regarding driveway and paving adjustments.

Following the discussion, a motion was made and seconded to open the floor to public comments.

The meeting also included the acknowledgment of a closed session discussion regarding a settlement agreement related to zoning litigation with a company, the details of which were not disclosed in the open session.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Jake Bruno
Zoning Board Officials:
Dana DeCesari, Justin Falisi, Anthony Gaetano, Mike Garofalo, John Gravenor, Andrew Hammel, Rich Iglesias, Jim Ketcham, Russell Leo

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